Eureka! Ever since I started teaching I’d been secretly hoping to find the holy grail – the answer to the most important question ever, and no, not 42!
I always felt that if I could discover what learning actually was I could maybe condense it into a brief mantra, or handy swallow-size pill for my students – and especially for myself.
Well, while reading the very interesting (so far!) Assessment & Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom, it came to me, drumroll please…
LEARNING IS CONNECTING
Not only is it neural connections, but it’s connections between the page and the students’ lives, and between problems and solutions.
Perhaps more importantly it’s the connection between new information and previous knowledge, it is bridging the gap between what I knew before and what I know now, bridges need scaffolding and that’s where teachers come in I guess.
Like standing on the edge of a ravine, I can get a good glimpse of what is ahead (teachers’ and classmates’ modelling I suppose), I just need to figure out how to get there.
Learning is connecting with people
Yes, I know you can attend MOOCs and read up on stuff on your own, I do both frequently, but like the sound of a tree falling in the forest (one metaphor too many perhaps?!) I believe learning only REALLY happens when it is shared, in a forum, with a classmate, by asking the way – and understanding the reply.
This explains why I love learning so much – I love connecting with people.
OK, so now all I have to do is work out how to develop this theory into that handy pill and then pick up the Nobel Prize for Amazing Teaching.